Christ Our Helper

As we study about future events, we should have our eyes wide open in regard to the troubles that face the world and the church. However, we should not spend the largest portion of our time thinking and studying about the trouble. If we do that, we will become discouraged. We need to turn our eyes above, to the God of light and power, and focus on Him, the source of our help, if we are going to get through the troublous times before us.

The Bible pictures Jesus as a person that is our help in times of trouble, trial, difficulty and distress. Sister White wrote: “Remember that in every time of trouble Jesus is near you, seeking to impress His image upon you. He is trying to help you to carry the cross . . . He is always ready to clasp the hand stretched out for aid.” Review and Herald, June 20, 1907.

Jesus will always be near His people. He will not leave them during the fiercest persecutions of the last days or during the times of deepest distress. Even when probation has closed, and Christ is no longer a mediator in heaven, He will be near His people. During the time of Jacob’s trouble, when the devil will try to make them believe that their cases are hopeless, Christ will be with them to comfort, sustain and strengthen.

In The Great Controversy, Ellen White describes the time before the carrying out of the death decree when some will try to anticipate the decree and come and kill the saints before the set time. But God will send mighty angels to encamp around the saints, and the wicked will not be able to get through their ranks to harm God’s faithful company.

How are you going to get through a time when, even if it does not happen, it is going to look like you are facing torture or death in the next few hours or the next few minutes? None of us will make it unless we have developed a strong faith in Jesus as our Helper.

A Psalm of Deliverance

We need to study what the Bible says about this. We will begin in Psalm 46. This is the chapter that the 144,000 will quote and sing during the time of trouble. (See The Great Controversy, 638.) Look carefully at what they will be saying: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. When you are in trouble, God is a help that is right with you. No evil man or group of men can ever take you to any place where Jesus will not go with you and help you. “Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed. And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” Psalm 46:2. This verse will be fulfilled literally when the seventh plague is poured out upon the earth. (See Revelation 16.)

When I was a boy, I lived in Longmont, Colorado. In a fifteen-minute drive, we could be in the Rocky Mountains. Adventist people who live in that part of the country imagine that when the time of trouble comes, they will flee to the Rocky Mountains. And it is only natural for people to look to the mountains for security, because, in all ages, the mountains have provided security to people that have been persecuted and oppressed. It was so for David when he fled from Saul, and for the Waldenses fleeing the destroying vengeance of the Papal power. However, during the seventh plague, “the mountains were not found.” Revelation 16:20. Instead, there will be gigantic caverns where the mountains will be torn from their foundations. (See Early Writings, 290.)

If you are confidently thinking that when the time of trouble comes you will just flee to the mountains, what will you do when the mountains are torn from their foundations? Your trust must not be in finding a cave or a secluded mountain spot where no one can find you. Your trust must not be in making a physical preparation. (I am not saying that we should not prepare all we can. We should do what the Spirit of Prophecy says we are to do to prepare for the crisis.) But your trust must be in the Lord because the time will come when the mountains will not provide security, and all of our carefully laid plans could fail.

“Though its waters (of the sea) roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.” Psalm 46:3. There will be a great earthquake such as never was since there was a nation. The waters will roar and be troubled. The storms will be so severe, that Ellen White says the seaports, that have become like Sodom and Gomorrah for wickedness, will be swallowed up by the angry waters of the sea. (See The Great Controversy, 636.)

“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46: 4–7.

During the last scenes of this earth’s history, there will be wars raging throughout the earth. Ellen White saw the horrible picture in vision: “I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 268. But did you notice what it said in verse 7? “The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” We will not need to fear amid the horrors that are going on if we have faith in God.

How is Faith Developed?

How is this perfect faith and trust in the Lord developed? How do you get ready for the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation? We are prepared to face the final test by experiencing smaller tests in our daily lives. Just think of the marathon runner who wins a great marathon or the professional swimmer who crosses the English channel. The runner doesn’t run the marathon the first time he puts on running shoes. Neither does the swimmer cross the channel on his first swim. It takes weeks, months and sometimes years of preparation in order to be ready for the big test. So there is a reason that you are going through all of the troubles and tests you are facing. The Lord is trying to help you get ready for the big trouble that is coming for God’s people. The only way He can get you ready is to allow you to experience some trouble now so that you will develop faith. Through these troubles you can learn to trust Him when everything else fails.

We must have an experience in which we know and we trust that God will help us no matter what appearances are. If it looks like we are not going to have any food to eat or any water to drink, or if it looks like we are going to be killed at midnight, we must still trust the Lord. I do not know whether I will die a martyr or live to see Jesus come. I have to leave that with the Lord. But I must know, in my soul, that Christ is my helper and deliverer. If the devil can take away my faith or your faith that God will help us, he has us and we will fall.

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:8–10. God’s work will be finished very soon. But it will be finished in a way that will exalt the Lord and bring praise and honor to Him. I believe that we need to use all the technology God has put into our hands. We need to use the printed page, radio, television and all the methods of communication. However, Ellen White says that we will be surprised at the simple methods that God will use to finish His work. God is not dependent on our methods, our plans, or our numbers. Gideon was outnumbered almost four to one, but the Lord said to him: “If I give you the victory with all these people, you will think that you did it yourself. I will get the numbers down low enough that you will know that I am the One giving you the victory. It is not your power and might that win the battle.”

The work will be finished in a way that people will say, “It is impossible that could ever work.” But it will work because God is in control. We all have to learn to be still, trust in the Lord, and know that He will help us. He is a very present help in trouble. We must be able to say, “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:11.

Our Divine Helper

In 1906, Ellen White wrote an article for The Signs of the Times entitled “Christ Our Helper.” It has been a wonderful encouragement to me. I would like to share some of its most inspiring passages with you. The first paragraph begins like this: “The only begotten Son of God came to this world to redeem the fallen race. He has given us evidence of His great power. He will enable those who receive Him to build up characters free from all the tendencies that Satan reveals. We can resist the enemy and all his forces. The battle will be won, the victory gained by him who chooses Christ as his leader, determined to do right because it is right. Our divine Lord is equal to any emergency.Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906. [Emphasis supplied.]

“Our divine Lord is equal to any emergency.” Can you understand that? I have piles of scare literature in my office. I have a stack of literature on the Y2K problem. I have a stack of literature on the threat of terrorism to large cities of the United States. The average person in the United States has no idea how much we owe to the mercy of God. If the Lord should ever lift His hand, we have no idea what would happen in the cities in the United States. We could have hundreds of millions of people dying within hours. Ellen White says, in The Great Controversy,614, that in the time of trouble the whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came on Jerusalem of old.

What will you do when you are faced with these scenes? Unless you learn that Jesus is equal to any emergency, as we near the end, you become very terrified. And if the devil can terrorize you so that you lose your faith, you will not endure till the end. I do not know what is going to happen in the future, but I pray day by day, “Lord, help me to develop a perfect faith and trust in You.” I know when I ask Him that, I am asking for all kinds of trouble, because it is the way He will get me ready. He will prepare me for the big test of faith by giving me troubles here to help my faith to grow and be strong. My job is to learn to trust the Lord and be able to say, “The Lord will help me and I will trust Him, I know He ‘is equal to any emergency. With Him nothing is impossible.’ ” Ibid.

Nothing is impossible with the Lord! It is one thing to say it and it is another thing altogether to believe it when you are in the midst of troubles and difficulties. But that is what you and I must do, and that is why all the people in God’s true church are facing an avalanche of difficulties in these last days. They do not come one at a time anymore. Sometimes it seems that there are two or three big difficulties the same day. And the worst is yet to come. Soon the laws of the land and the other churches will be opposed to us. Even our former brethren will become our worst enemies. Some people we thought were our best friends will betray us.

Then there will be trouble from closer to home, such as trouble from the family. Jesus said, “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:36. And that is the most difficult kind of persecution to endure. But then, as if that were not bad enough, there is the trouble that is really within. The trouble within our own heart is the carnal nature that constantly strives for the mastery and we must fight and subdue it by the grace of God.

I do not list these difficulties and troubles to overwhelm you. I list them so that you can see what a wonderful God we serve, because He has promised that He is equal to every emergency. “There is no difficulty within or without that cannot be surmounted in His strength . . . There is no nature so rebellious that Christ cannot subdue it, no temper so stormy that He cannot quell it, if the heart is surrendered to His keeping. He who commits his soul to Jesus need not despond. We have an all-powerful Savior . . . In the future life we shall understand things that here greatly perplexed us. We shall realize how strong a Helper we had and how angels of God were commissioned to guard us as we followed the counsel of the Word of God.” Ibid. What a wonderful promise! And it cannot fail because it is backed up by infinite power.

When Martin Luther faced opposition, and he had to stand alone against the most powerful men in the world, Ellen White says that he was not afraid because he knew that he had One with him Who was mightier than them all. I want to know how strong a Helper I have. I want to have a faith that is anchored in a Helper so powerful that I do not need to worry about what I see going on outside or about the battle that I have to fight on the inside. “To all who receive Him, Christ will give power to become the sons of God. He is a present help in every time of need. Let us be ashamed of our wavering faith. Those who are overcome have only themselves to blame for their failure to resist the enemy. All who choose can come to Christ and find the help they need.” Ibid.

Is that good news? Are you going to find all the help you need? You can. If you are the weakest, you are not in a disadvantaged position, there is help for you. Ellen White says that the “the weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger will you become in His strength.” The Desire of Ages, 329. That is an encouragement to me. Even if I am the weakest person, if I trust in the Lord, He will give me enough divine power so that I can become like the strongest.

Help Thou Mine Unbelief

In the gospel of Mark there is a story that contains a very important lesson for us about how we can receive Christ’s gifts. It warrants a careful study.

This story took place as Jesus was coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration with three of His disciples. “And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them . . . And He asked the scribes, ‘What are you discussing with them?’ Then one of the crowd answered and said, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast it out, but they could not.’ He answered him and said, ‘O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.’ Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’” Mark 9:14–23.

The father came to Jesus and said, “If you can do anything,” and Jesus turned right around and said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” The problem was not whether or not Christ could heal the young man. The problem was whether or not the father had faith. Christ’s words sank deep and the man realized that his son could not be healed unless he had faith. And he was in trouble because he was a victim of unbelief, and so he turned to Jesus. His heartfelt response was, ” ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’ ” Mark 9:24.

I have been intrigued with the comment that Ellen White made about this text. She said: “He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the Word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’ You can never perish while you do this—never.” The Desire of Ages, 429.

If you come to the Lord and say, “Lord, I realize that I am a victim of unbelief, but I am choosing to believe with all the faith I have, help my unbelief,” you will never perish because you have a divine Helper who will take compassion on you.

Certain Victory

Sister White closed her article with these words: “Let us have more confidence in our Redeemer. Turn not from the waters of Lebanon to seek refreshment at broken cisterns, which can hold no water. Have faith in God. Trustful dependence on Jesus makes victory not only possible but certain.” Ibid.

If Christ is your leader, if you have surrendered everything to Him, not only is victory possible, but it is certain, because we serve a Master that does not know anything about defeat. He has never been defeated. When we put our trust in Him and say, “Lord, whatever You want, You make the decisions, You are the director and I am just Your humble servant,” He will not only show you what to do; He will give you the strength to do it. Then victory is not only possible, it is certain!

We serve a God who is infinite in power. All of the resources of heaven are placed at the disposal of the weakest person who puts his complete trust in Jesus. At the end of the great controversy between good and evil, the devil will discover that he was powerless to destroy those who put their trust in Jesus.

As we draw closer and closer to the end, it becomes more and more necessary for us to keep our eyes constantly on Him, for if we look at what is going on in the world, we will be driven to darkness. We have to look to Him, keep our eyes on Him, keep talking to Him and He will see us through and give us all the help that we need. We must never forget that our Redeemer, with infinite power, has promised to be our Helper.